Will all Angelenos who filed their federal tax returns online raise their hands?
Despite the lure of convenience and ultra-rapid refunds, not a lot of hands are waving. The Internal Revenue Service estimates that just 2 million Americans, about 1.6 percent of the tax-filing public, will file over the Internet this year. That is double last year’s figure, but still not a heck of a lot.
Sales of tax-preparation software have jumped nearly 35 percent this year, but the programs will be used mostly to prepare returns that are mailed the old-fashioned way.
Local accountants admit some business is being lost, but they don’t express much concern about their job security in the short or long run.
“Clients with simple returns that used to go to professionals prepare their own taxes now,” said George Nadel Riven, a partner at the North Hollywood accounting firm Miller Kaplan Arase & Co.
But individuals with complex returns turn to professionals for good reason. “We’ve seen no changes whatsoever in the number of filings we’re doing,” said Philip Strauss, the tax partner in charge of Southern California for Los Angeles-based Grant Thornton LLP.
Nadel Riven noted another trend: The complexity of returns handled by his firm increased this year, due to capital gains earned through online investing or investments in Internet stocks.
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While books and CDs have been flying off the Internet’s virtual store shelves, apparel has limped far behind. Many critics say that anything requiring a dressing room will never sell well online, but the people at Venice-based 3Dshopping.com believe their technology can help change that. The e-commerce software company recently inked deals with K-Swiss and Nordstrom.
“The tactile experience has to be well duplicated for online apparel shopping to take off,” said company founder and Chief Executive Lawrence Weisdorn. “As for those who say this isn’t going to work, that’s what they said about mail-order catalogues in the beginning, too.”
3Dshopping.com’s software is sold to retailers hoping to sell clothes over the Internet. It has three features that let a consumer carefully inspect a product on a Web page: a 3-D image of a model wearing the clothes, which can be moved around to show all angles; a zoom feature for inspecting details; and virtual fabric swatches to see the clothes in different patterns and colors. The software does not require any Web browser plug-ins, meaning a viewer can easily click through the program without having to install additional software on a computer. Costs range from $5,000 to $10,000 depending on the project’s complexity.
Hermosa Beach-based, soon to be Manhattan Beach-based software company PeopleMover Inc. recently inked what may turn out to be its biggest deal to date a multi-year, multimillion-dollar scalable contract with Jacksonville, Fla.-based staffing company Modis Professional Services.
PeopleMover has emerged over the last year as a new force in the narrow niche of providing workforce management software and information systems to the staffing and information technology industries.
The Modis deal marks the third time in recent months that a client has chosen PeopleMover’s software to replace the product made by its more-established competitor, Personic, according to company Chief Executive Jim Jonassen.
Sara Fisher can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.